Dirty tricks row over Labour leadership voting booklet
November 2014: Jim Murphy was last night dragged into claims of dirty tricks in an increasingly fierce Scottish Labour leadership contest, after facts which could have helped his main opponent were not supplied to voters.
Jim Murphy was last night dragged into claims of dirty tricks in an increasingly fierce Scottish Labour leadership contest, after facts which could have helped his main opponent were not supplied to voters.
The super-union Unite wrote to Labour’s UK general secretary, Iain McNicol, demanding to know why trade union nominations for the leader and deputy had been excluded from publicity material sent to eligible voters.
Unions overwhelmingly backed Murphy’s left-wing rival, Neil Findlay MSP, for the leadership, and left-wing MP Katy Clark as deputy. But the material sent by the party to voters contained only nominations by MPs, MEPs and MSPs – the bulk of whom backed Murphy for leader and MSP Kezia Dugdale for deputy.
Also omitted were nominations from constituency Labour parties, slightly more in favour of Murphy and Dugdale.
A senior union source said: “It does not feel particularly clean as a process. Jim Murphy is an establishment figure within the Labour Party. He will have very good relationships with the party at a high level.”
In a letter to McNicol, Unite’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “You can imagine my surprise when I looked at the candidate election booklet to find that my union’s nomination, along with all the other trades unions, had been omitted from the publicity material. This strikes me as a gross error of judgment. To intentionally or otherwise exclude the nominations of the trades unions feels disrespectful to all trades union members in Scotland.”
Rafferty added last night: “We are urgently seeking clarification from the Labour Party to find out why this has happened and if needs be will join other unions and affiliated organisations in making a formal complaint.
“Unless the party deals with this situation urgently they will stand accused of trying to skew this election for favoured candidates.”
Findlay said he was also seeking clarification. He said: “Over the last 24 hours I have been made aware of a deep frustration from local Labour Party branches and affiliated organisations that their nominations for the leadership campaign have been excluded from the candidates booklet … It is insulting given the effort and expense members, constituency Labour parties, trades unions and socialist societies went to organise special meetings and consultation events, only to be ignored.”
A spokesman for Murphy declined to comment. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Scottish Labour said candidates must have at least 10 nominations from MPs, MSPs and MEPs which are included in the candidates booklet.
Supporting nominations are a separate process.
The spokesperson added: “The deadline for supporting nominations was three days before ballots were despatched so there was no way to include them in the candidates’ booklet.” http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/scottish-politics/row-over-insulting-booklet.25947400
What the Readers Said:
The only thing surprising about Jim Murphy running a dirty campaign is that people find it surprising. For those activists in what’s left of the labour movement who fought for a NO vote, you might say this is karma tax dollars at work.
Too true; same old, same old. If you can lie to OAPs, why not to each other. Also another fine example of hiding the truth. R L Stevenson: ‘The cruellest lies are told with silence.’
It is sad that so many within the Labour party now only care about winning and not in the manner of their victory.
It’s the old ‘end-justifys-the-means’ Machiavellian philosophy. Voters beware.
Except there are no longer any ends. They have lost sight of any left wing policies.
Murphy is a particularly mendacious example of this type of campaigning but it is becoming a trait of Labour tactics in general. When Andy Burnham compiled a list of MPs with private health investments he failed to include ANY labour mps which a cursory glance at original list includes such pillars of integrity as former chancellor Alistair Darling
The same Andy Burnham admitted on QT the other night that if Labour forms the next government “Down There”, he will continue with the NHS Tory reforms and Health and Care Act 2012 legislation….yet somehow he will stop the drip drip privatisation of the English Health service? Burnham’s capitulation is like Ed Balls’ commitment to the Lib Dem /Tory austerity cuts and IDS’ Welfare ‘reforms’, it looks like the Labour Manifesto will be written on one side of an A4: “No change, nothing to see here, move on.”
How can we trust a Labour Party who plays dirty tricks on its self
According to Johann Lamont that’s the reason for this election in the first place.
Very good point John! Simple answer – you can’t.
It’s only a party called labour not the original idealist socialist group who were for the people
Yet the Unions cash goes towards putting out this document which simply ignores the workers point of view in favour of the high heid yins choice
Bit of an ironic description in a party whose leaders routinely over-rule constituency parties choice of candidate, and even more frequently ignore votes by their party conference on policy in favour of policies made by press release by the party leader
The problem is that the active portion of the Labour constituency parties has grown so small that they have become vulnerable to special interest groups, as recent events in Falkirk have shown.
Labour democracy is an oxymoron
When are the unions finally going to see sense and abandon this morally corrupt Scottish branch of the labour party and advise their membership to vote for the SNP, the only truly socially democratic left of centre party in Scotland.
Never, the unions are all controlled from the south. Unionist and Trade Unionist mean essentially the same thing.
One day the penny will drop in the collective minds of the union bosses instead of into Labours pocket – the Labour party does not protect the average voter or the disadvantaged any longer – it is simply struggling to protect itself.
So sad that this is the state of the Labour Party. It truly has lost its way.
This party lost its way back in the 1960s. Fortunately I have never been taken in by them, and I am now 60.
Indeed Douglas the Labour party has worked tirelessly against Scotland for many decades.
Since I first became politically aware in my teens, I have never trusted the Labour Party in Scotland. Jim Sillars summed them up beautifully with his story about Janey Buchan saying that the Scottish people had no right to claim the revenues of North Sea oil as “they hadn’t put the oil there in the first place”!
My realisation came when I was working offshore in 1975 and heard the lies being told by the labour government about the life of oil production
It certainly lost its way in the 60s when Willie Ross acted like a colonial governor keeping the troublesome natives in their place.
Willie Ross? Ah! I remember now – the Secretary of State for Scotland who said he’d resign if Scottish unemployment went over 100,000. It did, but he didn’t!
The spokesperson added: “The deadline for supporting nominations was three days before ballots were despatched so there was no way to include them in the candidates’ booklet.”
Typical Labour – the melange of deals, wheels and committee retreads. Dirty tricks? The Labour Party? Nah!
A recent post of mine conjured up the picture of the Labour Party teetering on the brink of a deep political grave with one foot hovering over the abyss and the other on a banana skin. Murphy has switched from rotten eggs to mouldy bananas.
After all Mr Murphy had to say about UNITE and Falkirk too! Irony, irony!
Well there’s a surprise! Murphy and dirty tricks go together. No doubt advised by London HQ. despite the fact that the ballot has been open for a week, you can still join the party and get a vote. You can join for a discounted price of £5, instead of £45. Two points arise from this. Will they publish there figures after this great offer. How busy is Murphy at signing up members and stick it on his expenses. He might also offer a free Irn Bru as an incentive.
Iain McNicol KNOW your place man, IF the labour party want your opinion they`ll give you it. Must be pretty hard to, just NOW, realize how corrupt this labour party really are?
I got a ballot paper through this week from my union and for the first time I’m sending it back with a note on it telling them why I refuse to vote on the leadership…. I say this as a now former labour voter and a YES voter and If the vote happened again tomorrow ,10 or 15 years or whatever I would still vote YES……
I know other union members who have faced the same dilemma as yourself. What they did though was vote for Murphy. They did so simply because they are YES voters and wanted a Labour leader in Scotland who would be a guaranteed vote loser.
They were expecting a fair and transparent election from the people who made the Vow. Eggs should not be wasted on men like Murphy.
You can’t make a Murphy without breaking a few eggs, Tim.
Same old labour,never ever going to learn ,the public hate duplicity and negativity of which Murphy is the king.
This is not about Murphy. It’s about keeping these pesky socialists out!
You have to laugh at the utter stupidity of it all. Labour have come apart at the seams and instead of applying more thread they’ve approached the problem with a pair of scissors instead. Hell mend them.
Let the 2 minute hate commence! As a lifelong trade unionist I always find it amusing when the current set of trade union officials lecture us on openness and honesty. Let them tell us how open and honest their consultation processes were before they decided which candidates to back. Personally it reminds me of the stuc when these same people or those like them used to lecture us on the freedom and workers rights in the workers paradise of the Soviet union.
So there is no part of the Labour movement you can stomach?
Trade unionist seemingly happy that trade union views are not on Labour document….lol What goes through some people’s heads when trying to justify the actions of others.
There are a choice of candidates, therefore you are not required to follow the advice of your elected Union official, or are you upset that your colleagues do not favour your preference? My understanding is, Unite consulted 5,000 employed members, to reach their recommendations.
Since you Know about all the back stabbing in the unions Why don’t you tell everyone?
There are some things we have in common. I feel the pain of your dilemma and genuinely sympathise. It is easier for me though I reluctantly abandoned the hope of seeing a decent, honest UK wide Labour party a long time ago. I do hope we get such a decent Labour party post-Independence and with it a better stuc.
I cannot understand your view. “Two minute hate”? “Union officials” decisions on candidates undemocratic, ergo, ignore unions and their members and support the Party, again. I support the SNP now, formerly Labour. When I give them Carte Blanche and blind loyalty then they should refuse my membership fee. Infallibility remains elusive but a nod to the electorate might go a long way.
The anonymous spokesperson for “Scottish” Labour is being typically disingenuous when they say that there was no way to include supporting nominations in the package which was sent out to eligible voters in the leadership ballot. This totally, and one suspects quite intentionally, misses the point that the issue was a matter of balance and full disclosure. If all nominations could not be included then none should have been. Let’s imagine for a moment that it had been the other way around. Let’s suppose that it was only the trade union nominations which were available while those favouring Murphy – London’s chosen man – could no be included. Does anyone seriously think that the party managers would have allowed Murphy to be disadvantaged? British Labour’s contempt for voters is certainly inclusive. It includes those within the party.
Please, if there is a god, let Murphy be crowned in a rigged election. It will be the final nail in New Labour’s Northern Branch coffin, and Darling and Brown will be poll bearers at the funeral. The UK Labour Party has completely lost it Up Here.. When Murphy ascends the throne, Labour membership will dissolve into the hundreds. Vote vote vote for Irn Bru Murphy!
This news doesn’t surprise. Saw worse when I was in the party during the era when Broon and Darling were climbing the greasy pole: the mafia had more open democratic practices.
If a party continues to have a Union block vote is it any wonder that we have dirty tricks in an effort to force the issue? No disrespect to any of the candidates but if a Union can wield a large number of votes it has the potential to create this exact situation….I.e the very situation that Scots find themselves with national politics….I.e “no matter how you vote individually, we will get our man/woman in!”. Add the centralised control room from Labour Central Office, the “branch office” grass roots have less power and influence. Is it any wonder why Labour has become unpopular, and almost irrelevant.
Its probably already in the hundreds and they are just not letting on!
Has he lined up an egg thrower yet? Anyone know where the auditions are being held? Nothing this man stoops to surprises me anymore.
“The deadline for supporting nominations was three days before ballots were despatched so there was no way to include them in the candidates’ booklet.” If the leadership election is being run without attempting to skew the vote, Labour can’t coordinate an internal mailshot in accordance with their own processes and a timetable that they set themselves. Incompetence or corruption? There is no third way.
A party where trades union block votes and the Islington Mafia compete for control is perhaps more suited to a long boot shaped country and the past. Hopefully the boot is exactly what they will get in May. Their supporters, such as are left and not on the payroll, deserve better.
Drawing comparisons between the Labour Party and long,boot-shaped countries is, I would suggest, a dreadful slur on long, boot-shaped countries.
Sounds like ‘loading the dice’ to me.
Without taking the so-called ‘democratic’ union side, this is the ‘new, progressive, respecting the people labourites. ‘ Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose’.
Eggstastic Murf and aspersions of dirty tricks, how dare they try to drag him out of the gutter politics he’s so well adjusted to.
If he is not being backed by the unions will he be sponsored by Irn Bru ?
I would not be surprised if a ‘lawyer’s letter’ from the Barr Family isn’t winging its way Murhpywards as we speak. Do they really want their name associated with this Tammany Hall farce?
I was talking to a old man I know who is old school labour and I commented on labour being in a bad way, In a bad way son ? he said its deid, all we are need to know noo is when’s the funeral
If this has been a deliberate attempt to skew the vote in favour of Murphy because the Unions did not back him the vote should be declared null and void and re-organised to allow all of the information to be available. Those organising the vote were aware of the timescale and should have ensured they had enough time for everything to be done fairly and squarely. Labour meddled in the referendum and now it seems there is evidence of internal meddling to produce the result required by head office in Westminster. They are really plumbing the depths but all the while expecting the electorate to trust them on credibility. Frankly they deserve everything they get both in Scotland and the wider UK.
Labour have been guilty in gerrymandering and nepotism across Scotland over the years. It would appear this self serving attitude is alive and well in the upper echelons of London labour too. Control freakery at it’s finest.
Cheating their union paymasters — Shureley not ?
The only surprise here is that some people seem surprised,the labour party in Scotland,they stabbed Scotland in the back at the referendum, so why the surprise that they stab each other in the back first chance they get, they are unionist politicians they cannot be trusted
Murphy should do what his one time leader has done ‘retire gracefully (if that is possible) from the contest’. The ‘vibs’ by this time must be telling him, there is no place for New Labour in Scotland. Ignoring them he risks humiliation.
perhaps the votes will be rigged?
London want Murphy to be in charge given his Blairite credentials….that is the simple answer.
Dirty tricks? Labour? who woulda thunk it?
What fun, the rats are feeding on themselves. Is this the time for a recount of the referendum vote?
Surprise Surprise. Its funny how these tactics “become dirty” when they are used against you. The labour party is in such disarray that it is turning on itself. The wise thing for any Scot is to vote for some one who is NOT controlled from anywhere outside of Scotland.
The mendacious Murphy up to the usual Blairite tactics,this pathetic crew of “Labour” montebanks could not organise a p*** up in a brewery.Labour cannot get out of the gutter politics Murphy inhabits,this latest farrago should surely consign “Scottish” Labour to political impotence after the General Election,Brown has already bailed out after reading the runes,how many more of the serial Labour troughers jump before the G/Election?,Labour, the tragic comedy that just keeps giving!
“Dirty tricks row over Labour leadership voting booklet” Naw! Yer joking…surely! Next time…Vote “Yes”!
Hahaha. London labour running the show in Scotland shocker! Sleekit stuff from London labour.
Pat Rafferty thought the White paper/SNP Propaganda sheet was wonderful: “The White Paper will contribute towards the growing ranks of worthy publications…” Worthy? What a joke. Meanwhile at the end of this tendentious piece there is the clear statement: “Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Scottish Labour said candidates must have at least 10 nominations from MPs, MSPs and MEPs which are included in the candidates booklet. Supporting nominations are a separate process.” Is Rafferty the only one surprised by the rules and who is pulling the dirty tricks?
Look dirty tricks are a political standard lets go back to the 50,s who knew and for how long about philby burgees etc, but is was politicaly expedient for us not to know, we do not need or want the political westminster establishment in any form up here, it has had its day ,its gone and yes I would like to see Labour, the old labour, its values , its purpose,its soul even to have a damacusean road travelled, but not with any of the current self proclaimed shammen, I as a former member cringe at these cheap penny theatrics, have they no self respect, have they no respect for us, it would seem not
To be fair, I don’t think it would make sense if a right wing party paid attention to trade unions anyway.